UK far from being ‘post pandemic,’ as cases rise again


U.K. Covid-19 cases have risen for the first time in two months, according to new data, which warns of a possible further spike ahead.

A total of 989,800 people tested positive for the virus in the week from May 27 to June , up from 953,900 a week earlier, estimates from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed on Friday.

That figure equates to around 1.5% of the population, or one in 65 people.

It comes at a time when Health Secretary Sajid Javid has dubbed the country “properly post-pandemic.”

Javid on Saturday told The Times newspaper that Covid-19 was “no longer a pandemic,” describing it as “endemic” like the flu and other viruses. “We should be proud as a country of how we tackled it,” he added.

The uptick recorded by the ONS was likely driven by the original omicron variant BA.1 and the newer variants BA.4 and BA.5.

While all four countries in the U.K. recorded an increase in cases, the ONS said the overall trends in Scotland and Wales were “uncertain.” As of June 2, England had 797,500 cases; Northern Ireland had 27,700; Wales had 40,500; and Scotland had 124,100.

The data, which are based on confirmed positive Covid-19 test results of those living in private households, give an early projection of the course the virus may take in the coming weeks.

It is compiled by testing thousands of people from U.K. households at random, whether or not they have symptoms, and is thought to provide the clearest picture of Covid-19 infections in Britain since free public testing was abandoned in England and Scotland.

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